An unknown object was spotted on Mars last month by Perseverance. While many had doped for aliens, it turns out its just more trash we brought to Mars. It is also not the first piece of trash humans have sent to Mars. In fact, there is so much more.
A mysterious tangle of noodle-like material was discovered by the Perseverance rover on Mars last month. Although many people immediately thought of aliens on Mars, or remnants of alien structures on Mars, what “Percy” found was actually part of its equipment, NASA has recently revealed.
Scientists think the object is a piece of trash left by the rover, not the remains of an aliens launch on Mars.
According to NASA, the debris may be a piece of shredded Dacron netting from Perseverance’s entry, descent, and landing gear.
The NASA website describes Dacron as a polyester fiber used to create netting for thermal blankets used to regulate equipment temperature. It was noted by the Perseverance team that the netting ball was shredded and tangled, “suggesting strong forces had processed it.”
Despite the ball of netting being likely harmless, debris left behind on the Martian surface is a concern. According to NASA, the perseverance team is reviewing images of the debris in order to determine if it may pose a contamination risk for the sample tubes.
After a 300-million-mile journey taking seven months, Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021. The mission aimed to look for signs of ancient life. During landing, the rover’s entry, descent, and landing hardware were tossed across the surface of Mars, scattering debris across the surface.
NASA scientist Justin Maki wrote in an update that discarded debris is common in space missions.
As NASA has shown before, Perseverance’s 2021 landing produced a variety of debris. Four-pound Ingenuity helicopter, the first to fly on another planet, photographed the dust-covered wreckage of a parachute and a protective cover, 26 feet above the ground. Ingenuity took the photos on April 19, 2021, the anniversary of its first Martian landing.
Researchers hope to study both pieces of hardware to plan future space missions since they worked as expected.
“Perseverance had the best-documented Mars landing in history, with cameras showing everything from parachute inflation to touchdown,” Ian Clark, a former Perseverance systems engineer, who now leads the effort to haul Martian samples back to Earth at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, said in a statement in April.
In Clark’s view, if the photographs can confirm that the systems worked as we think they did or provide just one dataset of engineering information they can use for Mars Sample Return planning, that is fantastic.
Surely it will not take much for the Perseverance rover to find another mystery for us on Mars.
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